London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies

Best day trips from Aix en Provence with kids

October half-term, Provence with kids, 2 mums with precisely 4 kids ages 4 to 7, what an adventure! A week filled with seaside indulging, cities sightseeing, mountain & castles exploring and a very bespoke itinerary with some great day trips from Aix en Provence.

Getting there & around: We gave up the velocity of the plane for a more thrilling train ride under The Channel and across France: Eurostar, London-Paris and TGV, Paris to Aix-en-Provence. The latter city was our base for exploration and we rented a car to maximise the visits in 5 days – here are our highlights

Accommodation: spacious, very Provencal but with a modern twist 3-bedroom apartment at ‘Les Suites du Cours’, in one of Aix-en-Provence most beautiful building (mansion built in 1655), right in the city centre.

1’ day: Cassis (1h drive), a pearl of the French Riviera. Nestled in between the famous calanques (fjord-like inlets carved into the white limestone), Cassis is a very picturesque fishing town overlooked by a charming castle, and it has its own beach, which we had the luck to enjoy given the warm and beautiful sunshine.

The seafront is filled with lovely little restaurants with exquisite food (not to be missed: calamari a la Provençal and moules frites).

Attractions for all ages: boat trip to the calanques, little-train ride across the town and hiking paths along the coast.

2’ day: Marseille (45min drive). Second largest French city, nevertheless filled with beautiful natural landscape and enjoyable activities for kids. We hiked up to the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, from where the view is just breathtaking. For a dedicated article on luxury holidays in Marseille, including 3 star Michelin dining and a wonderful stay at a family run boutique hotel part of Relais & Chateaux, head here. One truly feels chateaux born and spoilt in here!

We enjoyed crêpes in a little square by the Vieux Port (‘old port’), before embarking in a boat trip around the Frioul islands (Îles du Frioul), home to many rocky inlets, beaches and sandy creeks, which also host a sort of French Alcatraz.

Marseille streets

At sunset, we managed to squeeze in a wander around Le Panier, a charming neighbourhood filled with artsy ambience, artisanal shops, ateliers, hidden squares and sun-baked cafes’. The quarter is history-woven, given that it was the Greeks first settled in Marseille in 600b.c.

3’ day: Les Baux and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (ca. 1h drive, one of the best day trips from Aix en Provence) – In the heart of the Alpille, Les Baux is an enchanting medieval village at a fortified rocky site.

day trips from Aix en Provence

Day trips from Aix en Provence

Blessed with another glorious sunny and warm day, we immersed ourselves in the pretty cobbled lanes, filled with petite shops of superb French delicatessen, pure lavender oil and fancy soaps, and cosy restaurants with terraces overlooking the mountains.

day trips from Aix en Provence

The kids loved exploring the extensive fortified-chateau area (especially playing on the catapults!), the magnificent setting, and views of vast olive trees fields and vineyards. Just 10 minutes walking from Les Baux, not to be missed is the ‘Carriers de Lumiere’, a lights and music show held in a cave, which is unique in the world.

things to do in Provence

We totally immersed ourselves in the images of Bosch, Brueghel and Arcimboldo’s paintings talking to us about the ephemeral nature of life, about pleasures and vanities of this world – all projected onto all the surfaces of the quarries, accompanied by a selection of fabulous music. The ground was completely covered, too, and became a vast carpet of images. The kids were mesmerised by such an intense sensorial experience, and so were the adults. The day flew and we were left with an hour or so to visit the nearby fabulous village of Saint-Rémy, charm of a typically Provencal way of life. This was where Van Gogh found inspiration for many of his most famous paintings, and such a perfect autumn sunset aperitif enjoyed in the heart of the village left us with no wonder on why the painter found this place so inspiring.

4’ – 5’ day: Aix-en-Provence Finally, we had the last couple of days to enjoy Aix, a city of art, light and fountains. Our base was so central right on Cours Mirabeau that we could finally enjoy a car-free day.


The Cours itself is a beautiful tree-lined avenue, with terrace cafés, bookshops and food markets every other day (a feast of croissants, baguettes, quiches, olives, cheeses, mushrooms, fruits and more).

Aix en Provence

The air was warm, the light sublime and the sidewalk always alive. We recommend the Les Deux Garçons restaurant, where local vip Cezanne and Zola used to hang out a century ago. A must-see is the Atelier Cezanne, a bright studio set in a beautiful Provencal house a 15 minute walk up the hill, and the birthplace of dozens of Cezanne’s works. Aix Vielle and its cafes, narrow streets and little squares is another delight. We also manage to take the kids to the playground of Jourdan Park, which was also a beauty with autumn colours in full swing.

things to do in Provence

Provence with kids and so many amazing day trips from Aix en Provence…could not recommend it highly enough! Spring and summer would also make a great time to explore and enjoy the lavender and sunflowers field! For further inspiration on French gems, head to our 10 days fabulous itinerary around chateaux hotels in here;  Best time in Paris: March, April or May? or Paris with toddlers and/or kids. Or simply relaxing on some luxury authentic holidays in Dordogne at Chateau Les Merles, head here.

15 comments on “Best day trips from Aix en Provence with kids

  1. Joana Daminescu
    November 17, 2017

    Perfect summary of our amazing adventures, Elisa! There’s so much to explore – a week not enough. The location has everything, beach, mountains, culture and the best food. One of the most memorable half terms for our kids!

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 17, 2017

      Next time E stays home wit his dad and we join you! x

  2. Zen Babytravel
    November 21, 2017
    Wander Mum
  3. Ruth
    November 22, 2017

    This is a lovely escape! I think you guys allocated a good amount of time at each stop. I am a bit envious of all the delicious food you ate. Sounds good! #citytripping

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 24, 2017

      Thank you Ruth! Hope you go to France soon and indulge into their exquisite gastronomy 😉 X

  4. Elizabeth (Wander Mum)
    November 26, 2017

    I am a huge fan of Provence and have visited there for the past two summers. There’s some places here I have yet to check out though! Thanks for sharing #citytripping

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 26, 2017

      Indeed, there’s so many magical places in France and Provence and so little holidays! X

  5. Zen Babytravel
    December 9, 2017

    Country Kids

  6. What a fantastic trip, I bet the kids all loved exploring Provence together. It’s great that you covered so much in such a short amount of time, I’m sure you’re desperate to go back and discover more! You can tell the kids had a wonderful time, there’s a smile on their faces on every shot.

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

    • Zen Babytravel
      December 10, 2017

      Pleasure to link in Fiona and what a great seasonal tweak to Coombe Mill! Hope December treats you well and festively! X

  7. You fitted so much in and got to see lots of different things, the area looks beautiful #CountryKids

  8. MudpieFridays (@MudpieFridays)
    December 13, 2017

    We only discovered France for the first time last year! And have not visited Provence yet but it sounds like a great place especially with so much to do! #CountryKids

  9. pinkoddy
    December 14, 2017

    We love France but haven’t explored this area yet. You certainly made your most of your time/experience there and it looks so beautiful. #countrykids

  10. Sherry Cook
    December 14, 2017

    I’ve never been there before, but it looks like a great place to visit #CountryKids

  11. dearmummyblog
    December 15, 2017

    What an amazing location and it sure looks like you crammed a lot into your visit. The scenery is stunning! #CountryKids

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